This week in Shelter Island history

FILE PHOTO | Major league baseball players Don Hood (left) and Joel Youngblood (seated, right) shared some advice with Little Leaguers back in 1983 at a dinner at Legion Hall on how to succeed in life.


Task force zeroes in on zoning issues
A special Planning and Zoning Task Force told the Town Board in January 2003 it wanted to focus on regulations affecting near-shore zoning and building regulations pertaining to setbacks, heights, proportion of structures to lot sizes and pre-existing nonconforming structures. While the task force was looking to the Town Board to prioritize the issues, Town Board members didn’t want to , sending back instructions that all of the listed areas should have high priority. The Town Board also asked for recommendations on affordable housing.

POSTSCRIPT: A new task force comprised of members of the Planning Board, ZBA and Town Board is looking at regulations pertaining to zoning regulations as they currently affect land owned by nonprofits  and by families that might want to establish compounds for several family members.


School needs storage space
Despite construction of a 23,000 square foot addition to Shelter Island School in 1993, the district’s superintendent told the Board of Education more space would be needed for storage and a garage. At Dr. Marlene Berman’s request, technology teacher Jack Reardon agreed that students in his residential construction class could tackle the job of designing and constructing a viable structure with the district having to bear only the cost of materials. But Board President Bob Reylek said members couldn’t move forward without a cost estimate and design plan to consider and Dr. Berman agreed that would be forthcoming within a month.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2012, a major $9.7 million school renovation project got under way that involved installation of a new generator, improved lighting, electrical system upgrades, plumbing improvements, repainting of walls and major changes to the elementary school wing. New windows are still to come, but a plan to clean up the building facade has been abandoned because no materials were available to tackle the job that wouldn’t post environmental problems.


Police and DEC prove hunting on Ram Island
Illegal deer hunting on Ram Island was being investigated by DEC officials and Shelter Island Police following reports that five persons were observed hunting in a 90-acre parcel in the center of Big Ram Island back in January 1983. It was ultimately determined that one hunter was properly credentialed and had bagged a single deer. Reports that the others were “tracking” wounded deer outside of designated areas couldn’t be substantiated.

POSTSCRIPT: The bow hunting season for deer runs from January 7 through 31 and hunters must be in possession of a DEC-issued permit and limit their hunting to weekdays in designated areas on Shelter Island. While Shelter Island has a 4-poster system in place that officials said has sharply cut down on the incidence of deer ticks causing diseases, hunting continues to be a part of the area’s effort to curb the deer population.


Bowditch named public works commissioner
The Town Board back in January 1963 established the Department of Public Works and named then Highway Superintendent Harry Bowditch as commissioner. The move came in line with a state law enacted the previous year that allowed towns with populations under 25,000 to have such a department.  Then Supervisor Evans Griffing said he believed the move would enable Shelter Island to realize economies of scale and ease the problem of having to hunt for people and firms to tackle various services needed here. Mr. Bowditch predicted the move would “get rid of a lot of technicalities.”

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s highway superintendent and commissioner of public works is Jay Card Jr., who was elected to the dual role in November 2011 and began his term in January 2012.